Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin, Ph.D.



Yale University
Assistant Professor of Psychology
2013 –
Vanderbilt University
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Mentor: David Zald
2010 - 2013
Stanford University
Ph.D. in Psychology
Dissertation: Incentive processing in the aging brain
Advisors: Brian Knutson & Laura Carstensen
2005 – 2010
Stanford University
M.A. in Psychology (Affective Science)
2005 – 2008
Stanford University
Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant / Lab Manager
Life-span Development Lab, Department of Psychology
2002 – 2005
University of Michigan
B.A. in Psychology with Honors
Thesis: Physiology of emotional maintenance
Advisors: Barbara Fredrickson & Patricia Reuter-Lorenz
1998 – 2002


NIH Pathway to Independence Award
National Institute on Aging
2012 - 2017
Post-Doctoral Fellows Award
Cognitive Neuroscience Society
NIH Post-Doctoral NRSA Fellowship
National Institute on Aging
2011 - 2012
Distinguished Dissertation Award in Social Sciences
Council of Graduate Schools / UMI
Adult Development and Aging Dissertation Award
APA Division 20
Albert H. & Barbara R. Hastorf Prize for Teaching
Stanford University
NIH Pre-Doctoral NRSA Fellowship
National Institute on Aging
2008 – 2010
Department of Psychology Teaching Award
Stanford University
NIA Top 10 Scientific Advances of 2007
National Institute on Aging
Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
National Science Foundation
Summer School in Neuroeconomics Fellowship
W. B. Pillsbury Prize for Undergraduate Research
University of Michigan
University Honors
University of Michigan
Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society Member
University of Michigan
Branstrom Prize for Freshman Scholars (Top 10% of class)
University of Michigan


Neuromodulation of Motivated Cognition and Decision Making Across Adulthood NIA / NIH (K99 AG042596)
2012 - 2014
Individual Differences in Susceptibility to Investment Fraud
FINRA Investor Education Foundation
(PI: Knutson)
2011 - 2013
Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging
NIA / NIH (R24 AG039350)
(PI: Carstensen)
2010 - 2015
Imaging the Human Reward System Across the Adult Life Span
NIA / NIH (F32 AG039131)

2011 - 2012
Incentive Learning and Decision Making in the Aging Brain
NIA / NIH (F31 AG032804)
2008 - 2010


Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Knutson, B. (forthcoming, 2014) Reward processing and risky decision making in the aging brain. In V. Reyna & V. Zayas (Eds.) The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. pdf

Hills, T.T., Mata, R., Wilke, A.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R. (2013) Mechanisms of age-related decline in memory search across the adult life span. Developmental Psychology. EPub ahead of print.

Samanez-Larkin, G.R.
, Buckholtz, J.W., Cowan, R.L., Woodward, N.D., Li, R., Ansari, M.S., Arrington, C.M., Baldwin, R.M., Smith, C.E., Treadway, M.T., Kessler, R.M., Zald, D.H. (2013) A thalamocorticostriatal dopamine network for psychostimulant-enhanced human cognitive flexibility. Biological Psychiatry. EPub ahead of print. pdf sup

Garrett, D.D., Samanez-Larkin, G.R., MacDonald, S.W.S., Lindenberger, U., McIntosh, A.R., Grady, C.L. (2013) Moment-to-moment brain signal variability: A next frontier in human brain mapping? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(4), 610-624. pdf

Kuhnen, C.M., Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Knutson, B. (2013) Serotonergic genotypes, neuroticism, and financial choices. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e54632. link

Samanez-Larkin, G.R.
, Levens, S.M., Perry, L.M., Dougherty, R.F., Knutson, B. (2012) Frontostriatal white matter integrity mediates adult age differences in probabilistic reward learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(15), 5333–5337. pdf

Knutson, B.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R. (2012) Brain, decision, and debt. In R. Brubaker, R. M. Lawless, & C. J. Tabb (Eds.) A Debtor World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Debt (pp. 167–180). New York: Oxford University Press. pdf

Mata, R, Josef, A.K.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Hertwig, R. (2011) Age differences in risky choice: A meta-analysis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1235(1), 18–29. pdf sup

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Mata, R., Radu, P.T., Ballard, I.C., Carstensen, L.L., McClure, S.M. (2011) Age differences in striatal delay sensitivity during intertemporal choice in healthy adults. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 5, 126. link

Knutson, B.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Kuhnen, C.M. (2011) Gain and loss learning differentially contribute to life financial outcomes. PLoS ONE, 6(9), e24390. link

Samanez-Larkin, G.R.
, Carstensen, L.L. (2011) Socioemotional functioning and the aging brain. In J. Decety & J.T. Cacioppo (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience (pp. 507–521). New York: Oxford University Press. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Wagner, A.D., Knutson, B. (2011) Expected value information improves financial risk taking across the adult life span. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(2), 207–217. pdf sup

Carstensen, L.L., Turan, B., Scheibe, S., Ram, N., Ersner-Hershfield, H.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Brooks, K.P., Nesselroade, J.R. (2011) Emotional experience improves with age: Evidence based on over 10 years of experience sampling. Psychology and Aging, 26(1), 21-33. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Kuhnen, C.M., Yoo, D.J., Knutson, B. (2010) Variability in nucleus accumbens activity mediates age-related suboptimal financial risk taking. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(4), 1426–1434. pdf sup cover comment

Kwon, Y., Scheibe, S.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Tsai, J.L., Carstensen, L.L. (2009) Replicating the positivity effect in picture memory in Koreans: Evidence for cross-cultural generalizability. Psychology and Aging, 24(3), 748–754. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Robertson, E.R., Mikels, J.A., Carstensen, L.L., Gotlib, I.H. (2009) Selective attention to emotion in the aging brain. Psychology and Aging, 24(3), 519–529. pdf

Ersner-Hershfield, H., Garton, M.T., Ballard, K.,
Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Knutson, K. (2009) Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow: Individual differences in future self-continuity account for saving. Judgment and Decision Making, 4(4), 280–286. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R.
, D’Esposito, M. (2008) Group comparisons: Imaging the aging brain. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 3(3), 290–297. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Hollon, N.G., Carstensen, L.L., Knutson, B. (2008) Individual differences in insular sensitivity during loss anticipation predict avoidance learning. Psychological Science, 19(4), 320–323. pdf

Samanez-Larkin, G.R., Gibbs, S.E.B., Khanna, K., Nielsen, L., Carstensen, L.L., Knutson, B. (2007) Anticipation of monetary gain but not loss in healthy older adults. Nature Neuroscience, 10(6), 787–791. pdf sup

Mikels, J.A.,
Larkin, G.R., Reuter-Lorenz, P.A., Carstensen, L.L. (2005) Divergent trajectories in the aging mind: Changes in working memory for affective versus visual information with age. Psychology and Aging, 20(4), 542–553. pdf

Mikels, J.A., Fredrickson, B.L.,
Larkin, G.R., Lindberg, C.M., Maglio, S.J., Reuter-Lorenz, P.A. (2005). Emotional category data on images from the International Affective Picture System. Behavior Research Methods, 37(4), 626–630. pdf

Fredrickson, B.L., Tugade, M.M., Waugh, C.E.,
Larkin, G.R. (2003) What good are positive emotions in crises?: A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 365–376. pdf

Google Scholar Metrics


Decision Making Over the Life Span (2011) G.R. Samanez-Larkin (Ed.). New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.


Department of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles
Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California

Department of Psychology, Yale University
Institute on Aging & McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida
Center for Cognitive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany

Council of Graduate Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, Georgia Tech / Georgia State


Workshops/Meetings/Conference Talks
2013 Psychological Science and Behavioral Economics in the Service of Public Policy, Washington DC
2013 Mechanisms of Motivation Cognition and Aging Interactions, Washington DC
2011 The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making, Ithaca, NY (discussant)
2010 NIA Workshop on Economic Phenotypes, Evanston, IL
2010 Cognitive Ability in Aging Conference, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
2009 NIA Preconference on Neuroeconomics and Aging, Evanston, IL
2008 NIA Workshop on Opportunities for Advancing Research on Aging, Chicago, IL
2006 Mind the Gap!: Behavioral Perspectives on Medicare Part D, Berkeley, CA
2006 NIA Workshop on Neuroeconomics and Aging, Palo Alto, CA

2008-2010 Department of Psychology Human Subjects Committee, Stanford University
2006 Department of Psychology Graduate Admissions, Stanford University

Guest Editor
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Frontiers in Neuroscience (Research Topic on Decision Making Across the Life Span)

Ad-Hoc Reviewer
Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition; Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; Behavioural Brain Research; Behavioral Neuroscience; Biological Psychiatry; Brain Research; Cerebral Cortex; Cognition and Emotion; Cognitive Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience; Developmental Psychology; Emotion; Frontiers in Neuroscience; Human Brain Mapping; Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; Journal of Neuroscience; Neurobiology of Aging; NeuroImage; Neuropsychologia; Neuropsychology; PLoS ONE; Psychological Science; Psychology and Aging; Review of Finance; Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Grant Reviewer

National Science Foundation

Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Society for Neuroeconomics
Society for Neuroscience
Society for Judgment and Decision Making
Association for Psychological Science
American Psychological Association, Division 20 (Adult Development & Aging)
Gerontological Society of America